Posted By Lauriel O. Posted On

Mummy of historical Egyptian Queen Nefertiti destined to be identified

The mummies of Nefertiti and Ankhesenamun are being studied by famous Egyptologist Zahi Hawass to determine whether the former had reigned Egypt before Cleopatra.

Nefertiti’s tomb in Egypt (National Geographic)

As modern Egypt continues to emerge and ancient Egypt continues to be studied since the 1800s by archaeologists, it is suspected that a mere 30% of artifacts underground have been discovered and most haven’t been found yet – but the climate crisis and tourism pose a risk to finding those artifacts.

Egyptologist Zahi Hawass believes he is near proving that the mummy first discovered in the 1800s is the wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten and mother of Tutankhamun or King Tut – Queen Nefertiti, who lived between circa 1,370 and 1,330 BC, and is believed by many Egyptologists to have ruled Egypt for a short time after the death of her husband, and if proven true, that would mean that she would have taken the throne roughly 1,300 years before Cleopatra.

Although Hawass says his theory would be confirmed in October, he also suspects that another mummy explored in the same tomb is the wife of Tutankhamun, Ankhesenamun, as part of Hawass’ preparation of an exhibition called “Daughters of the Nile” that centers on the women of ancient Egypt during the pharaonic period. Both mummies were found in a position with their left arm over their chest, a pose classified for queens during that time.

According to Hawass, the mummy of a ten-year-old boy found in a different tomb (KV35) could be the brother of Tutankhamun and the son of Akhenaten, which if determined to be correct, may solve the mystery of Nefertiti. In the procedure of his research exploration, Hawass began resorting to CT scanning and DNA analysis to identify the mummies although initially, they were not wholly put together.

Just last month, the Egyptologist launched an initiative to bring the Rosetta Stone back to Egypt from the British Museum, as the latest move against museums that have looted artifacts away from their homeland and relocated them to their imperial captors’ countries.

In 1817, prolific Italian explorer and early Egyptian archaeologist Giovanni Belzoni came across the female mummies of Ankhesenamun and Nefertiti and were later located again by another well-known Egyptologist James Burton eight years later, who noted that their condition was well preserved and suffered no water damage.

When the tomb KV21 with both mummies in it was reinvestigated in 1989 during Pacific Lutheran University’s The Valley of the Kings project, water damage was observed on the walls, which implied flooding took place, as well as bat feces and graffiti were also found in the tombs alongside pieces of the damaged mummies and some parts thrown across the room.

This led to the tomb being secured with a steel gate with attempts for the mummies to be reassembled, and the valuables inside were put into protective coverings – which was all in vain, as five years later in 1994, water flooded the tomb again, the damage did not reach the objects that time.

During a wealthy period in Egypt’s history that experienced a religious revolution led by both Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti, Egypt switched from polytheism to monotheism, but the changes were stopped shortly after Akhenaten’s death, and either during Nefertiti’s to-be-proven reign or early in Tutankhamun’s reign as a child king.